Phillies hurler Drew Smyly erases some doubts for the moment

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 21: Drew Smyly #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 21: Drew Smyly #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Phillies signing of lefty Drew Smyly left many of their fans cold, but Smyly got right to work and, momentarily, dispelled the notion he’s not a find.

The first of the Philadelphia Phillies mid-season moves was widely doubted. When the Phillies reached a tentative agreement with free-agent Drew Smyly July 19, after he had opted out of a minor league contract with Milwaukee, most Philadelphia fans yawned.

I heard from some of them. One opined, “Meh. Not a game-changer.” Another texted, “Be still my heart.” A fine young writer who works for the New York Yankees jumped in: “I don’t think Drew Smyly’s 8.42 ERA is what #Phillies fans had in mind when they asked the team to add pitching.”

(I provided him with stats that suggested Smyly was marginally better than the three fellows who had recently been occupying the back end of the Phillies rotation.)

What many likely didn’t foresee was Smyly taking the mound for the Phillies as quickly as he did, which is to say, two days later in Pittsburgh against a team that, like Philly, was jammed into a pack now competing for Wild Cards.

Nonetheless, that’s what happened. An actual candidate to be the first Phillies consistent left-handed starter in over two years took the mound on a hot, humid day on the banks of the Allegheny River in what had to be a quietly desperate attempt to revive of his career.

Somewhere I read Smyly instantly appeared in Pittsburgh after his tentative agreement had been reached. Forgive the lack of a source on that, but I didn’t imagine it – probably a tweet without a blue checkmark.